Management and Administration Statement
Government of Canada Intervention to the 67th Session of the UNHCR Executive Committee
Canada extends its appreciation and thanks to UNHCR’s 10,000 plus staff worldwide for their continued dedication and perseverance at a time when levels of global displacement stand at record levels, and when they continue to serve in increasingly complex and dangerous environments.
We encourage UNHCR to continue its efforts towards improving staff safety and security, and on ensuring staff welfare. We note UNHCR’s commitment to an ongoing review of security measures, and its commitment to ensuring that funding is available for full Minimum Operating Security Standards (MOSS) compliance. At the same time, we appreciate UNHCR’s commitment to upholding humanitarian principles as a way to promote humanitarian space.
We also welcome the implementation of UNHCR’s 2016-2021 People Strategy as a means to ensure that key elements such as staff diversity, care and workplace flexibility are in place to help staff continue to deliver.
The immense challenges, and the immense needs that UNHCR is trying to respond to are a reminder that all of us – agencies, donors, States – need to change how we respond to these crises.
Canada noted with appreciation UNHCR’s active engagement at the May 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in developing and following through on the 51 commitments known as the “Grand Bargain”.
For Canada, these commitments are already having an impact. We are moving towards more flexible multi-year funding for both operational and core support to humanitarian agencies. We were pleased to announce our first ever multi-year core funding to UNHCR at the recent UN High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants and the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees.
We look forward to continuing to work together on the implementation of Grand Bargain commitments, and understanding how implementation of the commitments will take shape within UNHCR. We also see Grand Bargain implementation as a way to enhance and strengthen partnerships. This includes stronger partnerships with other humanitarian agencies in needs assessments, and in finding ways to reduce duplication and management costs. We wish to see UNHCR continue to build on its valuable work in forging closer partnerships with development actors to address durable solutions. We also encourage UNHCR to continue to seek innovative partnerships across a spectrum of sectors, from the private sector writ large, to various levels of government, to community level associations and individuals.
In particular, we seek a greater focus on the quality of partnerships with implementing partners, especially local partners, whether in terms of program delivery, capacity building, or joint advocacy. This is vital to ensure that the perspectives of the most vulnerable beneficiaries, including women and girls, are taken into account. For example, local women’s organizations that work directly with affected communities can play a key role in improving the impact of UNHCR’s work.
As well, in the face of rapidly increasing global resettlement demands, UNHCR has indicated that it requires dedicated funding for its resettlement work. In this new environment, it will be important for UNHCR to secure adequate funding including from resettlement states to support countries in meeting their resettlement goals. Canada is pleased to have allocated such funding since 2013.
A final element on partnerships concerns IOM’s recent transition to a Related Organization of the UN. We see great potential in this collaboration in support of the negotiations for the planned 2018 adoption of the Global Compacts on Responsibility-Sharing for Refugees and on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration. Canada is committed to playing an active role in these negotiations, and looks forward to working closely with both partners in this process.
The increased attention on refugees around the world makes it all the more important to tell a strong results story and to demonstrate the impact that UNHCR is having. We note the significant accomplishments in 2015 of UNHCR against its Global Strategic Priorities, and, in particular, note how the Global Focus portal provides an accessible and visually-friendly format for all stakeholders to use. We also wish to encourage continued attention to the quality and consistency of results reporting across country operations, including operation-specific reporting with sex- and age-disaggregated indicators. We hope that UNHCR’s new Programme Manual on results-based management will contribute to these efforts.
At the same time, we also ask that UNHCR facilitates the ability of the Executive Committee to understand how UNHCR prioritizes its allocations, especially within the context of budget gaps, and to understand UNHCR’s needs-based budgeting process.
We also take note of increase in the use of affiliate staff. By the end of 2015, there were a total of 5,000 non-staff personnel, representing 34% of UNHCR’s total workforce. While having a large number of affiliate staff can provide greater flexibility, it also requires effective management of UNHCR’s partnerships, and we encourage UNHCR to monitor closely the use of affiliate staff.
Finally, we remain concerned that UNHCR’s funding gap continues to grow. At 49% in 2015 and nearly 43% so far in 2016, the status quo is untenable. It is clear that UNHCR is making significant efforts towards broadening its donor base, and in finding efficiencies in its operations. We encourage these ongoing efforts to increase funding and reduce costs.
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